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Arthur Penn
Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Gene Wilder, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle
Writing Credits:
David Newman, Robert Benton

"The strangest damned gang you ever heard of. They're young. They're in love. They rob banks."

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway deliver pitch-perfect performances as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in this depression-era crime drama. Young, beautiful Bonnie Parker is bored with life in her go-nowhere small town. When she meets the charming and ambitious fledgling criminal Clyde Barrow she sees her chance for a life of excitement. The two fall in love and gleefuly begin robbing small banks across Texas and Oklahoma, making headlines and gaining noteriety along the way. But while the people see the gang as courageous rebels fighting the powers that be, the law sees them as dangerous criminals who must be stopped.

Box Office:
$2.5 million.
Domestic Gross
$50 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Monaural
French Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 5/18/1999

• Trailer
• Production Notes
• Cast and Crew Biographies


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Bonnie And Clyde (1967)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 20, 2008)

Is it possible to view and review 1967ís Bonnie and Clyde outside of its historical significance? Probably not, and I doubt that many discussions of it that have occurred over the last 40 years have made significant mention of its then-graphic use of violence.

Yes, the film features a very bloody finale. (Normally I avoid anything that could possibly be a ďspoilerĒ, but this aspect of the film is so well-known it enters ďDarth Vader is Lukeís fatherĒ territory.) Is it very provocative in todayís climate? Nope. I canít say that itís tame by modern standards, but it clearly doesnít present the shockingly graphic punch that audiences in 1967 experienced.

When Iíve looked at other opinions of the film, many of them seem to revolve around its historical impact. In fact, it becomes hard to see whether most people like the movie because itís a solidly-crafted and entertaining piece of work - which it undoubtedly is - or due to the impression it made upon viewers at the time. Ultimately, I think Bonnie is a very interesting movie, but Iím not sure it lives up to its legendary status.

The film provides a broad and rambunctious adaptation of the real-life story of bank robbers Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty). According to the movie, these two met by happenstance and led a rollicking gang through infamous illegal adventures while they maintained a nearly unconsummated love affair. Along the way they became icons for those hammered by the Depression due to their enthusiastically anti-authoritarian style.

Although I know little about the reality of the events, it seems clear that the movie takes quite a few liberties and glamorizes much of the action. Barrow and Parker definitely werenít as attractive as Beatty and Dunaway, and itís also unlikely they were as stylish and compelling. From what Iíve read, the gang was much less well-organized and more of a mess.

None of that matters, for Bonnie never purports to tell a completely factual story. It provides a stylized version of events, and from that point of view, it succeeds nicely. The leads are more than adequate for their roles. Dunaway offers a nice combination of swaggering sexuality and confused vulnerability that makes Bonnie larger than life but still believable and real. On the surface, Beatty seems cast in type as a suave pretty-boy, but greater depth quickly emerges, especially as it becomes clear that Bonnie calls all the shots. The irony of super-stud Beatty portraying an impotent man may not have been as apparent 41 years ago, but itís pretty funny now.

Add to this pair a very solid supporting cast and the film fires successfully in regard to the actors. Director Arthur Penn crafts a properly paced and compelling story that moves logically and briskly and Bonnie and Clyde presents a well-made movie. Frankly, I canít say that it bowled me over, but I definitely like the movie and think that it achieves what it set out to do.

The DVD Grades: Picture D/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

Bonnie and Clyde appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Digital artifacting, thy name is Bonnie and Clyde!

Poor compression created many of the presentationís concerns. The film usually looked like itíd been shot through a screen door, as it took on a messy, blocky look much of the time. This affected almost everything. Close-up, two-shot, wide view Ė it didnít matter, as the movie suffered from an ugly gauzy texture.

And it came with plenty of source flaws as well. I didnít get the impression anyone put a lot of clean-up work into Bonnie, as it suffered from a mix of specks, scratches, marks, debris and lines. These werenít constant companions, but they created more than a few distractions.

Sharpness was inconsistent. Close shots demonstrated decent clarity and delineation, but wider elements tended to be less distinct. Some prominent edge enhancement caused a lot of this, as haloes became awfully noticeable. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, though.

Colors occasionally looked a little oversaturated, but they usually came across as fairly clear and acceptably full. The film tended toward a dry, natural palette, and the DVD reproduced this in a passable manner. Black levels looked moderately deep and rich, while shadow detail appeared appropriately opaque but not excessively heavy. Though not a total disaster, the visuals of Bonnie were unsatisfying.

More acceptable was the filmís monaural soundtrack. The audio seemed consistently decent but unexceptional. Dialogue was a bit thin and flat but sounded easily intelligible and articulate. Music was fairly bright and clear and also boasted some modest low end at times. Effects generally came across and accurate and crisp, but louder scenes occasionally featured distortion; various gunshots tended to appear harsh and crackly. Despite those flaws, I found the soundtrack of Bonnie to provide a presentation typical of the era.

The DVD includes a few minor extras. We get the original theatrical trailer, an ad that definitely plays in the spirit of the time; it avoids any seriously dated use of the periodís lingo, but it still is clearly a product of the late Sixties. We also find two screens of decent production notes and short biographies of five actors plus director Arthur Penn. It ainít much butÖ well, it just ainít much.

Although Iím not sure I think itís the classic many make it out to be, Bonnie and Clyde unquestionably is a fine film that has exerted a strong influence over future movie making. It boasts some excellent acting and is a generally solid piece of work. The DVD provides adequate sound, negligible extras and badly flawed picture quality. Bonnie stands as a memorable flick but this is a bad release.

To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of BONNIE AND CLYDE

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